The Department of Petroleum Resources on Wednesday said that the scarcity of fuel across the country was not as a result of oil bunkering.
It rather stated that Nigeria would generate more revenue from bunkering if the exercise was resuscitated.
Bunkering is the downstream business in the maritime sector, including fuelling of ships of all kinds in the high seas, inland water ways and within the ports.
The Abuja Zonal Operations Controller of DPR, Mr. Aliyu Halidu, told journalists that media reports citing oil bunkering as a key reason why there was fuel scarcity in the country were misleading.
Halidu said the Premium Motor Spirit used in Nigeria was not bunkered, adding that the department had informed the Senate Committee on Gas of the development.
He said, “The Federal Government will make more money if bunkering is resuscitated because fees will be charged for all bunkering licences. We informed the senate committee that the process of renewals of bunkering licences is ongoing.
“The fuel we use as petrol is not bunkering fuel. Bunkering fuel is either Automated Gas Oil that we use for generators or Low-Pour Fuel Oil. Those are the bunkering fuel; it is not PMS. So bunkering can in no way affect the supply of petroleum products because PMS is not used for bunkering.”
Asked to explain what was the cause of fuel scarcity, Halidu said, “this is the Abuja zonal office, and it controls Lokoja, Niger, Nasarawa and Plateau states. So I may not be able to confidently tell you the cause, but I will be confident in what obtains here in Abuja because that is where I operate.”
As to why revenue from concession rentals of the department decreased, the DPR zonal head said rentals were not paid annually.
He added, “When the chairman requested to know why the revenue from concession rentals went down from what was obtained in the previous year, we informed the committee that rentals was not something that was paid yearly.
“For instance if somebody’s rent expired in April, definitely it will not be captured in the previous year, say December. The concession rental is not something that is paid or can be accounted for annually.”
Halidu further noted that the DPR was still reconciling figures with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as regards issues surrounding the shortfall of revenue remitted to the federation account by the NNPC.